Slowing Down

Thoughts written on the back of specials menus during a late night serving shift

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It shouldn’t be lonely to be alone. Resilience is knowing this,                      living without relying.                                  Something I couldn’t fathom as a child when all my loved ones were drinking from a fountain of eternal youth and I was certain I’d be great.

How much can a person’s light fade before they disappear?

I keep turning onto dead ends, which is to be expected when you have no sense of direction. I dreamt I found my starting point. Feeling the sweet rush of a challenge suited for me, I embraced it like an old friend. I woke up with a dull pain in my chest. It’s been hard to b r e a   t h e.  Now I draw in tentative breaths that move as slow as I do.

 

 

 

 

 

Still A Work in Progress

Last night I picked at the dry skin on my bottom lip and stared at the ceiling for hours until eventually, around four in the morning, my eyelids felt heavy. My mind was frantically planning an emergency escape from the absolute dry spell of inspiration and adventure that my current life had become.

Oftentimes, when I’ve reached the deep end of a low point in my life, I experience  random bursts of inspiration. They seem to come to me from an outside source, usually before bed, and they beg to be the fuel for something productive. Sadly, they often go unused and unfulfilled. During last night’s episode in particular, I found myself watching a TEDx Talk by Caroline McHugh called “The art of being yourself”. It was through this that a couple of things became clear to me.

To start, I’ve wasted too much time comparing myself to and appeasing others. McHugh attributes this habit in particular with a female-driven desire to be liked and appreciated. As a child, I never cared what people thought of me and it made me seem bizarre to other kids, especially to other young girls. In fifth grade while my “normal” female classmates were learning to straighten their hair and passing notes to the cute boys in class, I was designing identification cards for my three best friends as official entry into our magical world. We were young witches in a Harry Potter-based universe one week and ghost hunters trying to break into the haunted house behind the gym the next. I remember mustering the courage to ask the one boy I had a crush on if he liked me back and he laughed in my face. “No. You’re weird,” was the response I got before he sprinted back to his herd of cool boys. I shrugged and walked back to my friends unscathed. We had adventures to continue and the rest of our lives to fantasize about. Sure, it would’ve been nice if dreamboat Nick liked me back, but his opinion held no power over my confidence. I’ve been searching for that strength inside myself ever since. (P.S. Nick has since added me on Facebook and flirted his way into my messenger.)

My fixation on what others were thinking of me or what others were doing with their lives only held me back. Instead of allowing myself the time necessary to focus and think about who I wanted to become, I filled my time with Youtube videos of other people making their dreams come true. I soaked up the lives of the fictional TV and film characters that I adored and envisioned seeking out the same adventures and success. I’d often say things like “I could easily do what she’s doing!” or, after a random surge of inspiration, attack my parents with lists of ideas and dreams I hoped to accomplish to which they would nod and reply “It all sounds great Mariana. I want to see you do it.” I don’t regret soaking up all the inspiration, but I do regret not giving the same attention to myself that I gave/give to the people I admire. I realized that I need to build a relationship of admiration with myself to start making real strides.

Self-discipline is a bitch. I’ve been struggling with it my entire life, but more as a postgraduate than ever. Someone recently told me that talent is only 30% of what we can each rely on. The rest is how much work and dedication we are willing to put in every day to bring whatever dream we choose to fruition. I had been failing at this miserably, blaming bad luck and fate for how stagnant my life had become. The truth was right in front of me and I knew it all along. I was the one thing stopping me from moving forward.

So, what now?

As the title of this post would suggest, my path to pushing my limits and “making my dreams come true” is still a work in progress. I plan to make this blog my guinea pig, a place where I can track my creative productivity. I strongly suggest anyone who feels road-blocked or lost to watch Caroline McHugh’s Tedx Talk. She reminds us that we each have something powerful and unique to bring to the world. The first and most crucial step is to see it.

Not a Fallback Plan

ImageI can’t say that I know what I want to do with my life at this point. I realize this makes me sound repetitive. I assure you, however, that this entry has nothing to do with my pre-quarter life crisis.

To begin with, I’ve gone through quite a bit of different career choices since I was about sixteen. I started out wanting to study film, then I looked into the arts, journalism, marine biology, screenwriting, etc. One career that I have always held onto as an option in case everything else didn’t work out is teaching. For some reason, teaching has always been a fallback career choice. I remember having an hour long conversation with my grandfather once about how much we both valued the teaching career. However, I never once, when asked, “What do you want to do?”, admitted to considering it as my future. I still don’t quite understand why, though I have a few theories. It’s a common understanding that teachers don’t make the big bucks. A great deal of them hardly make enough to provide for themselves. So, the few times that I have mentioned possibly wanting to be a teacher, the typical reaction is “Well, you know. They don’t make a lot of money”. Not only does that response annoy me, but the fact that it is accurate in many cases pisses me off to no end. Teachers have, in my opinion, one of, if not the most, rewarding, honorable and reputable careers that any person on the face of our planet can aspire to have.

How is it that the one career that shapes the minds and potential of countless children can be frequently overlooked? It doesn’t make any sense to me. What teachers offer their students is an impact that lasts throughout students’ entire lives. In a way, that makes teachers immortal. I will never forget the teachers that made an impact by helping shape me into the person that I have become up until this point. If that isn’t a job that should be rewarded with the highest respect, I don’t know what is. If I could offer kids the same inspiration, creativity, and knowledge that my favorite teachers have offered me throughout the years, I would die fulfilled. That is precisely why I’ve been strongly considering a career as a teacher, more specifically, for middle school or high school. I love working with kids of all ages, considering I’m still a kid myself. I think that’s what makes the idea of teaching high school a little too weird right now. The other day, I was trying to remember at what point, throughout my education career, that school become important to me to the point where I became interested and involved. That specific moment for me was in the eighth grade. Middle school marked the turning point for me in which what I was being taught became interesting and eye-opening for the first time. I want to be able to impact the way kids think during the period in their lives where it matters the most. I have a lot more I could say on the topic but I’ll add to this entry a little later. I plan to continue blogging about what career I end up deciding on but, I can assure you, teaching is absolutely no longer a fallback plan.